5 Things All Outdoor Music Festivals Can Learn From BottleRock Napa Valley 2014

Summer Music Festivals
The 10 must-see music festivals this year!
Who says outdoor music festivals can’t be classy affairs?

This year’s BottleRock Napa Valley showed the world that spending three days shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers listening to your favorite 90s bands doesn’t have to be game of maneuvering around hoards of sweaty hipsters in flower crowns. (Ahem, Coachella.) In fact, it can all be very fun and relaxing.

Here are five things that stood out to us at this weekend’s event (and that other festivals can possibly learn from):

1. People Get Really Nostalgic About the 90s: As stated in that one skit from Portlandia, the dream of the 1990s is still alive in Portland everyone. This fact will not hit you until you’ve witnessed two generations of people freak out at the opening chords of Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper.” This fact will then be reaffirmed to you when the same thing happens as Smash Mouth starts playing “All Star” on the stage next door. Seriously, never have I seen so many people in platform flip-flops create such a pandemonium.

2. Food Good Can Exist at Festivals: Between bánh mì sandwiches and paella, there was simply everything for everyone to eat. Have you ever had a wagyu beef flatbread from an Iron Chef-owned restaurant while watching The Cure play? Well, I DID.

3. Good Drinks Can Also Exist at Festivals: If you haven’t learned by now, BottleRock is half music festival and half wine-and-food smorgasbord that would make Bacchus giddy with delight. I’m pretty sure I’ve drank better this weekend than at most bars my entire life.

4. Bands Playing at Music Festivals Should Only Play Their Hits: Hear me out, music snobs (and musicians who only want to perform their latest record). Please remember hundreds of people have been standing out in the hot sun to see multiple people perform, so I’m guessing not everyone in that crowd are 100 percent familiar with just one specific act’s discography. However, odds are that many in the same crowd have owned a radio. Do us all a favor and just give in and play the singles so that everyone can dance, sing and go home. If someone wants to see that one band play that one obscure song off that one limited edition EP, they can just buy a ticket to a more intimate show. A shout out to Weezer for having a setlist made primarily of hits — Blur cover and all.

5. The Barenaked Ladies Know All of Your Guilty Pleasures: Nothing gets a crowd together quick like Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” No, I’m actually not joking about this. See below for proof.